By Harold McGee
Japanese cooks briefly presalt most fish and shrimp to remove surface moisture and odor and firm the outer layers. This is especially useful for getting fish skin to crisp and brown quickly when fried. As is true for meats, presoaking fish and shellfish in a 3–5% salt brine will cause the flesh to absorb both water and salt, with moisturizing and tenderizing results.
From the book On Food and Cooking (2nd edition) by Harold McGee. © 2004 Harold McGee. By permission of Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.